BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Section VI Championships are fast approaching, and the first game of the weekend is the Class B match up between Albion and Maritime/Health Sciences.
The Purple Eagles and Falcons have put together impressive seasons, with both teams entering Friday night’s game with an 8-1 record. For Albion, it’s been a long time coming.
“Really exciting, we haven’t been here since 2002, so it’s a real accomplishment for us, and we’re just ready to come out and compete,” Albion offensive lineman Cody Wilson said.
17 years since the Purple Eagles have played for the Section VI title. Some of the kids on the current team weren’t even born yet.
“And then, we haven’t won since 1987,” Wilson said, “So hopefully we get it this time.”
It’s been a while for the Purple Eagles, but it’s absolutely uncharted territory for Maritime/Health Sciences. In the Falcons’ second year playing football, they’ve punched their ticket to Sectionals for the first time ever.
“Speechless at first, I couldn’t believe it,” MCS-HSCS lineman Shaukeem Mallory said. “I didn’t think we’d be in that position, and I’m happy we are.”
“It brought tears to my eyes, from being the most doubted team in our section, to now being one of the teams that’s playing in the championship at the Bills stadium, it’s just a wonderful feeling because it’s just that chip on our shoulder that we had to get off our shoulder this year to win it all and go to Syracuse to the Dome,” MCS-HSCS running back Mekhi Bridgers said.
“I know the hard work that the coaching staff has put in over the two months that we’ve been working, and it was just a breath of fresh air to be able to say we did it, we got it done, and we made it to the championship,” MCS-HSCS head coach Ty Parker said. “But, like I told the guys, we’re not happy just making it, we’re trying to win the whole championship.”
This season, Albion cruised through B3, earning the top spot out of the league by outscoring opponents 134 to 45. In the first two games of the Class B playoffs, the Purple Eagles took down Tonawanda 17-14, then Olean 21-14 in the Sectional Semifinal to earn their spot in the Final this week.
“Our biggest strength this year is probably the team, we’ve been together every Thursday when we go out to eat together before the game, we just have that kind of brotherhood,” Wilson said.
“Like I said, we’re just so close, we play as a team, we just really play as a team.”
In their first season playing high school football last year, Maritime finished with a 2-6 record. They certainly learned from those losses last season, though. The Falcons have attacked the 2019 postseason, beating Iroquois 36-14 in the first round, then easily handling Pioneer 42-7 last week. Coming into the Section VI Finals this week, the game prep is the same as it’s been all season.
“I always tell my guys, proper preparation prevents poor performance, so we get after it. We watch a lot of film, we try to imitate the other team and the things they like to do, and we try to take those things away come game time,” Coach Parker said.
“I’d like to thank the guys for dialing in. It’s a focus that you’ve got to have in order to be successful to make it this far. I just want to commend my guys for doing that,” Parker said.
“We have real pumped up energy, we have to stay humble, even though we’re having a great season this year we’ve got to stay humble, to ourselves, and just play the game of football as we play it,” Bridgers said.
Maritime and Albion meet in the first of five Section VI Championship games this weekend. The Falcons and Purple Eagles will play at New Era Field on Friday at 5 pm.